Writing every single day isn’t as difficult as it seems. At least, not if you do the five things laid out in the post below. Trust me on this. I learned how to keep a daily writing habit the hard way, and I don’t recommend it.

1. Keep an “easy-to-do no matter what” daily word count requirement.

Most people set their daily word count goals to a number of words they want to write every day when they are at their best. This is a mistake. If you want to write every single day, you should set the number of words you should write each day to an amount you can still achieve if you’re exhausted, stressed, distracted, etc. Because then on your worst, least creative days, you’ll still be able to meet your word count requirement, no matter what.

I set my daily word count requirement to 500 words because I know that I can and will write 500 words on days I am exhausted, on days that I have a slew of other responsibilities pop up, etc. And most days I end up writing well over 1,500 words anyway– when I am at my best. So, most of the time I end up feeling like I went above and beyond what I actually needed to do, which is a great feeling and keeps me motivated to write every day.

2. Write within an hour of waking up each day.

Whether you’re a night owl or an early bird, it is critical to write as soon as you can after waking up each day because your brain is always the most active and awake at this time. You will typically work faster and be more productive at this time. Personally, I like to listen to the news, drink coffee, and get dressed before I start writing. But I am always writing well within an hour after waking up each day, every day.

You’ll also want to write as soon as you can each day because it eliminates the possibility that anything else will get in the way of, or distract you from, your writing time. If writing is one of the first things you do each day, nothing else can or will come before it.

3. Read as much as you write.

If you don’t read regularly, you won’t be able to write regularly. Simple as that.

Reading helps prevent writer’s block because you’ll always be exposed to different topics to write about, different viewpoints, and different writing styles, voices, techniques, etc. So, you’ll never run out of things you’ll want to write about. Reading a lot also hardwires your brain to think in narratives more easily and will make it easier for you to use your storyteller’s voice, the more you read.

If you write for an hour per day, consider reading for an hour per day. And be sure to make reading a part of your daily habits, as much as you make writing a part of your daily habits.

4. Learn to enjoy the writing process more than the end product of what you write.

Learn to love the challenge of revising your writing more than you love something you’ve written when it’s “done.” The long-term joy of writing will always come from the creation and revising process, not the end product of what you write. Only paying attention to the end result of what you’re writing will lead to burnout and affect your motivation long-term. In other words, if you’re writing a novel, learn to focus on getting the paragraph you’re writing right now on the page first. Then expect to and look forward to revising it later if needed, once you get the paragraphs that come after it onto the page. If you aren’t getting lost in the revisions of your work constantly, you won’t ever enjoy the writing process. And eventually, you will lose the motivation to write every day. Revising is writing.

5. Always do something you enjoy as soon as you’re done writing.

As soon as you’re done writing, do something not related to writing that you enjoy, as a mini reward. I like to go for a walk or play with my dogs when I’m done writing, or watch an episode of a show I’m streaming. Whatever it is that you decide to do, do something that gets your mind off writing, and go relax or do something fun that you enjoy as soon as you’re done writing for the day. Call a friend. Eat a piece of chocolate. Meditate. Or take a nap. It doesn’t matter what you do, as long as you do something that brings you joy for a half-hour or so after you write each day– something that releases some dopamine in your brain and makes you happy.

What would you add to this list? What keeps you writing every day, no matter what? Tell us in the comments section at the bottom of the page.

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